Backyard Bill meets a few of our favourite product designers

Backyard Bill meets a few of our favourite product designers

Words and Photographs

Backyard Bill

Backyard Bill travels from Italy to America to explore the motivations, methods and magic behind product designers who shine a guiding light…

 

Giorgia Zanellato and Daniele Bortotto 

Product and Interior Design Studio
Treviso, Italy

What is your signature style?
In our design we try to combine our stories – often related with new and old places and cities – with our aesthetic, which is a compromise between our two different styles.

What are the particular challenges of working with your chosen material?
We like to work with different materials, often ones that are new to us – for example, the recent mosaic projects we did for Cappellini and Nilufar Gallery. Joining the mosaic tiles with a new, flexible and colourful resin was a new way for us to reinterpret the well-known mosaic representations in a contemporary and fresh way.

Which do you find more satisfying – the process or the end result?
The process is very deep and intense, we like it very much. While we’re doing it we can’t wait to see the end result. But, when the process is over and we see the final result, the satisfaction is related to all the thinking and working we did in the months leading up to that point.

What do you wish you’d known when you were first starting off?
We wish we’d known that in the design field you always need more time than you think. To draw a sofa is much faster then to arrive at a final prototype. A lot of patience and constancy is needed, both during the process of making and also the process of selling.

When and where are you happiest?
We just opened our new studio in the centre of Treviso, a small city next to Venice, so now the happiest and most satisfying moments are when we are in our studio together, working on new exciting projects. Exchanging opinions and ideas is the key point of our job – and also the happiest one.

Is it important to you to have time to reflect?
It is fundamental to have time to reflect. Sometimes we need to leave the studio and travel, to get inspired from a new source and spend some time thinking. Unfortunately these moments are quite rare – but that is also the beauty of them.

zanellatobortotto.com

Lanette and Ryden Rizzo

Lighting Designers
Nassau County, NY, USA

What is your signature style?
Allied Maker lives in a balanced space between ‘artisan crafted’ and ‘designed for’ manufacturing. The forms are geometric and minimalist: our materials are richly textured and the details are highly considered. We strive to produce designs that blend inspiration from the Bauhaus period, mid-century modern and French nouveau, while tapping into emerging independent American design. Our style strives to be very current yet distinctly timeless.

What are the particular challenges of working with your chosen material?
The most challenging element is also equally rewarding – it is the living finish. All of our brass is unlacquered and will grow a patina with time. Brass is an honest material that doesn’t need to be covered up or disguised; it looks beautiful raw, oxidised or polished.

Which do you find more satisfying – the process or the end result?
Definitely the feeling after. We both chase the ephemeral, thrilling feeling of accomplishment. There is only a small moment where you get to consume the thing that you have created in its fullness and it briefly fills you with a satisfaction that is the culmination of many, many hours and sweat poured into that thing!

What do you wish you’d known when you were first starting off?
Ryden’s naivety of the whole process helped begin everything. It fuelled late nights researching, making and discovering the things that would become signature Allied Maker processes. Being armed with the knowledge of what it would really take to get there would have deterred anyone! Ultimately, lacking that information made an extreme need to close the gap in missing information – and still does. 

When and where are you happiest?
An empty studio is definitely one of the happiest places for us. There is potential that is just waiting to be discovered in the silence that is not possible during daily production. This is why we spend our weekends in the studio. It is during this time that most new work gets created.

Is it important to you to have time to reflect?
Reflection is very important. It is so easy to get enveloped in the minutiae of figuring out all the little elements that construct our pieces. Any time we can, we travel and visit inspiring architecture and nature. Inspiration comes from so many things, it is important to invest time and energy in freeing up mental space to allow for that to happen. Visiting our work also provides some important reflection on usage and cohesiveness with design.

alliedmaker.com

Jacopo Foggini

Designer
Milan, Italy

What is your signature style?
It is the material itself: methacrylate and polycarbonate, which I melt in my laboratory and domesticate with my hands.

What are the particular challenges of working with your chosen material?
My personal challenge is coming up with ‘one idea per day’; I make only unique pieces and the projects are always different. At the moment we are working on a 13-metre-long cloud for a project in Azerbaijan and a new armchair for Edra.

Which do you find more satisfying – the process or the end result?
What I find really satisfying are the comments on my work – I always ask kids and never the insiders!

What do you wish you’d known when you were first starting off?
The insights I had when I was first starting out turned out to be correct but, if I could change something, I would have liked to have worked with a glass master in Murano.

When and where were you happiest?
Without any doubt the first time I held my son, Tommaso, in my arms.

Is it important to you to have time to reflect?
It is fundamental. I spend a couple of hours per day in the bathtub reflecting on things. And I spend every weekend in the countryside with my friends, in my house – which we built all together – cooking, singing, dancing and above all reflecting. But always smiling.

jacopofoggini.com

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